The Silence of Our Friends

Friday, October 27, 2006

Personal updates

I know some of you have been following my adventures and thought I better give a bit of an update.

The biopsy went fine. The results are different than I expected, I think. They said it's fibroadenosis, which I think is different than sclerosing adenosis. It's benign and as you might guess I'm happy about that.

Since I've decided to take this whole blogging thing seriously and continue, I better tell a little more about myself. I'm not a healthy person. I've had degenerative disc disease for several years and have three herniated discs in my neck that have gotten progressively worse over the years. At first when I had a flare up I could take prednisone for a few days and be painfree for months afterwards. That's not working anymore. I've also had epidural injections, physical therapy, and various meds for pain. I'm due to go into see a neurologist for a second opinion, an orthopedic surgeon recommended fusion. I'm not thrilled with the idea of having surgery especially since I have heard that in Europe and other areas of the world people are having disc replacement surgery but it's not FDA approved yet here. I was hoping to hold out until it was approved because I understand you have full use of your spine instead of having an area fused together and it appears that I would need at least two fusions/replacements. I also heard that healing is much faster since the replacement disc operates the same as the original so you don't need to wait for the bone to graft together as in a fusion.

The reason I thought it was important for people to know about this is because there are days when I feel "stupid". It is due to whether I need more or less vicodin to function during the day. So if it appears that I am not making sense, it's probably because I have had a little more vicodin than normal that day. The worst effect is my memory, I can't think of words I would commonly use. That's when I know I should get offline. LOL It's much worse in person and I'm taking my time speaking or having to explain what I mean because I can think of the right damned word! I also have a hard time following a single train of thought, which actually is fairly normal for me, but exaggerated when I'm having a bad day. (I had to sit for about a minute to remember the word exaggerated just now, and turned to my son to ask him, "What was that thing called when I got those shots in my neck?" so that he could tell me epi-something to remind me that it's epidural.)

I'm hoping that people will be willing to give me a little latitude and ask me to restate myself in those moments when I'm not especially clear. I'm self confident enough to think that I am not really stupid and do have worthwhile things to say, but I also am becoming more and more aware of how badly the vicodin is affecting me and my ability to concentrate and communicate.

The last piece of personal news, my sister seems to be taking the break with our father well and has mostly accepted it. I still talk to her almost every day, but we aren't dwelling on him anymore. But she talked to my husband yesterday and found out that I never did read his last nasty letter. My husband read it and told me not to. He knows me well enough to know how angry I would get, how much it would hurt, etc and I've taken his advice. My sister told me today to just shred it. My husband is leaning that way too, but so far I can not bring myself to do it. I don't know if one day I will want to know what my father said, hurtful or not. I guess I would like some outside opinions from people who are fairly objective. Would you stick it in the bottom of a drawer and mostly forget it, in case the day comes when you feel you really need to know. Or just get rid of the poison?

Geez, I know it sounds like my life is so depressing since I've only been talking about the bad. It's not really that awful. The vicodin means that I can function most days. The biopsy results were good. Health insurance to pay for the poking and prodding. No one is wailing and moaning over dear old dad anymore. I have a lovable husband and two perfect sons. I've just finished reading Pride and Prejudice while "recuperating". We are finally replacing the nasty carpet in our basement (it's partially finished) on monday. We saw "The Departed" at the movies last night (it was really good!) And Detroit is in the World Series. Ok, I don't really care about that, but my husband who was born and raised in Michigan does. When he is happy so am I. So Detroit better tie the series up tonight. I also have a cat. It's a good life with lots to be thankful for.

Monday, October 23, 2006

What I've Been Up To

Belledame's post on stupid blogger/blogging tricks got me thinking that I'd like to have a different template too. I got this at a site that offers free blogger templates, in fact it appears to be the name of the site. LOL I like the larger text, the color combination, and the wider width for my new blog; although I had to adjust the width myself and was sweating bullets that I would ruin my blog by doing it.

I thought that since I expect to be missing in action for a few days that I should mention why. I had a follow-up mammogram and ultrasound last week because I had a biopsy back in May. Unfortunately there is a new mass in the opposite breast and now I have to go in for another biopsy on Tuesday. I'm not looking for a pity party here, because I'm not even scared myself, at least I'm not scared that it's the big C. I am scared of the big damned needle they will be using for the biopsy. The reason I am not scared is that this is the third biopsy for me and the other times it has been something called sclerosing adenosis, it's a benign tumor or mass. I expect the same results this time too.

Other than that, I've got a few ideas in the works for some posts, but I am also confused about some of them. Did you ever get the feeling that you understand things but not quite? That's how I feel lately about alot of things. I guess I'll work some of that through while I'm convalescing (lying on the couch watching tv for a day or two LOL) and then you will be treated to my confused thoughts in the form of new posts by the end of the week!

I also feel like I have failed belle with my pictures, because I saved the most personal ones, so I will return and post the ones of my Maliseet heritage. It makes me sad though because I worked up a genealogy for my mom but lost it on my old crappy computer. I still have a bunch of index cards with all the information but it isn't sorted anymore. That's another thing I have to get back to work on.

Hope to get back in the swing of things very soon and catch up on what everyone else is writing over the next several days too. See you then!

Saturday, October 21, 2006

Eight Things I Find Amazing In Picture Form

I've been tagged for an image meme by BelleDame222 and my special image just for her is this one:


The meme is to find or create images of eight things I find amazing in picture form. I'm not sure if I find these things amazing, just things I like. First my computer wallpaper is almost always of kittens. I have four of them.

This is what I have for my wallpaper right now. If you want the full sized image (1024 X 768) for your wallpaper click here.

If you want the full sized image (1024 X 768) for your wallpaper click here.

If you want the full sized image (1024 X 768) for your wallpaper click here.

If you want the full sized image (1024 X 768) for your wallpaper click here.

Yes, I have a cat, a gray tabby. I'd have more if I could but my cat goes nuts when she sees other cats. It was one of the reasons we picked her actually, it was hilarious how quiet and friendly she was in the cage at the shelter, but as soon as she was out and could see the other cats she started howling, hissing, and spitting with her fur standing on end. Another reason is that she looked almost exactly like the cat we had before her. He got out of the house and was running across the street when he was hit by a car. We missed him alot, especially my youngest son. George of the Jungle used to hunt him down and pounce on him, I had to be especially careful to keep his claws filed down because of this, but it cracked us all up how he would find a high spot and lie in wait to jump on his head. And the last reason is that they liked her so much at the shelter they paid for her to be fixed, while it's great that we didn't have to pay for the surgery, it was more of a selling point to me that they liked her that much and wanted a good family for her. Our cat is named Smokey, but we mostly call her poopy kitten. That is because she gets into things and I'll say, "Why you little poop!" since I try not to swear in front of the kids, besides, George was also poopy kitten.

I've seen lots of the US and thought some of those were amazing. One of my favorites is Niagara Falls.


I was only 3 when I saw the Golden Gate Bridge, truly I barely remember it now, what I remember is being impressed and amazed at how beautiful and awesomely huge it is.

Golden Gate Bridge

I was 5 when I saw the Grand Canyon. If you have never been to the desert southwest, I highly recommend it for a vacation. Anywhere in NM, AZ, UT, etc it's so gorgeous.

Grand Canyon

We lived in Utah for a short time, long enough for my second son to be born there. When you are coming down from the mountains at night and see all of Salt Lake City lit up at night it's indescribably beautiful. Then when you are in Salt Lake City and see the surrounding mountains from below, that is also indescribably beautiful. I always liked the LDS Temple too. I wasn't too keen on the Mormons who wouldn't leave me alone trying to convert me, but that's a story for some other time.

LDS Temple

That's it for now, I've found more pictures I want to show in another post, but I'll save that for later.

I tag Elayne, Moksha, Sunrunner and Nezua Limón Xolagrafik-Jonez! The official meme is 8 things you find amazing in picture form.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Recommended Reading

I was going to write a post with a round up that ties together all the racist and classist nonsense we have been seeing on the white mainstream feminist blogs lately, but it appears that Progressive Gold has done the job for me.

For a spot on critique of white mainstream feminists go read Black Amazon's take on Sofia Coppola Feminists at Having Read the Fine Print.

Brownfemipower has One last rant on the burqa mess at Women of Color Blog. If you actually care what Afghani women think, instead of pretending that you do, read it because the post is backed up by examples from RAWA and other Afghan voices. There is much more about this in other posts, if you want me to post links I'll do it, but I really recommend that you search around and read about the other topics posted there as well.

The same goes for Bitch|Lab, who has several excellent related posts and Raised fists is a must read.

Read and send some comment love to these bloggers. They all understand why this is so important and are trying hard to get through to some damned hard boneheaded stubborn people who are determined to keep people in their place while at the same time refusing to admit to their paternalistic attitudes. You can't admit to your privilege if you are determined to hang onto it.

You may read some of my snarky comments at some of these blogs, let me be clear. I don't care how you groom yourself. To me it isn't a feminist issue. If you become a caricature perhaps, but for the most part there is no telling whether someone is shaving, styling, wearing items of clothing for the patriarchy or for themselves. I'll leave it to them to examine their own issues. What I do mind is that they do not question their idea of "normative" and how it relates to issues of race, class, or the American ideal. No, we don't have to be understanding of their expensive beauty rituals when other people are worried about putting food on the table. It's on the same level to me as saying the burqa is the ultimate symbol of oppression to muslim women, no bombing their homes and soldiers raping them is a little tiny bit more important to these women than an item of clothing. End the war and then maybe the burqa will become more important in the whole scheme of things. The same goes for waxing, bust the glass ceiling, get us equal pay, etc and maybe grooming will be more important in the whole scheme of things. It's hard for upper middle class American women to see this, I suppose.

Saturday, October 14, 2006

Still More Family Drama

Sorry I haven't posted anything recently. I'm still dealing with some of the family drama aftermath, and have just regular stuff to do around here too.

Much thanks to those who have stopped by to offer their support. I really do appreciate it!

My dad is still messing around with my sister's head. He stopped by her house, she assumed because he was worried about her, not so much. He came to ask her husband to come work on HIS house and pretty much blew her off.

This is part of the complicated mess that I alluded to earlier. Since my father remarried, they treat her side of the family much better than ours, but if there is any work to be done they come to our side of the family, because the princes and princesses must not get their hands dirty. In other words, unconditional love for her side of the family, but we are treated like crap but get nothing for our troubles except dad bitching at us for not being good enough. It's not that we expect anything, we don't, but the way my father has always shown his love is through money. So it says alot about what he thinks of us vs. them. They've been coddled their whole lives with their college completely paid for, weddings, and hand outs when they find themselves in financial difficulty. We know better than to even ask; so student loans and hard work paid for college/nursing school for us, we paid for our own weddings, and no help what-so-ever even during some very desperate times. I told my husband when we were struggling that I could not ask, because he would hold it over our heads for the rest of our lives. He'd probably only send $50 anyway but we would hear, "I helped you out when you really needed it and now you refuse to kiss my ass????" anytime he wanted something from us, so it was better to figure out some other way than get anything from him. There are always strings attached where he is concerned.

When he wants something it's the opposite. They have moved several times and each time it is our side of the family that helps them pack, clean, move, fix up the new residence. Her family is nowhere in sight. He told us that he wanted to have a family reunion. He is originally from Buffalo, NY and much of his family is still there. He and my sisters are in CT. Other relatives are in the south. So it takes alot of planning to get this thing to work. But he proceeded to do nothing about it, and started dropping hints that he expected us to plan it. We did, hours of planning, calling distant relatives, making all the arrangements since he wouldn't get off his butt to do anything. It cost us all huge amounts of money and our vacation time for the year, but we did it. When he plans anything else, like holiday parties, it is up to our side of the family to make the elaborate dishes while hers shows up with a bag of chips or 12 pack of soda. You get the idea...

Anyway, when I wrote that letter to him, I told him this. That we saw the differences and saw how he uses us vs asking nothing of them. I thought since he disowned us that it would at least put a stop to it, but no. After sending a nasty letter to us all, he shows up at her house unexpected. She's thinking he wants to make it up to her, but he takes off to find her husband next door. She thought he was just going to say hello but no, she's waiting waiting waiting. He finally comes back and tells her he is still mad and leaves. She found out from her husband that he asked him to help fix up his latest house! That is all he came for! The hardest part for me is that he picked her to do this to. She is the one hurting the most and so it left her more confused and hurt than ever. Un-fucking-believeable.

Sunday, October 08, 2006


I haven't been able to update dad is a jerk! He's not the worst person in the world, and actually was a pretty good father when I was growing up, but he has gotten more demanding, unreasonable, selfish, and controlling as he has gotten older. He makes every family gathering miserable and on my last visit to CT he was a pain in the ass because I wouldn't jump when he said jump, and took it out on not just me but two of my sisters too. He wrote us a letter disowning us back then (first week of July). I wrote him a letter in reply but sat on it, it was not nice, and I wanted to give myself a chance to cool off and rethink it. Well I went back in the first week of September and reread it and got mad all over again. I sent it. He sent us all another letter, I haven't gotten mine yet but heard from my sisters, now he has disowned all 4 of us.

I don't like the idea that the next time I will see him will be in a casket, but I also can't say that I will miss this person he has become. If there was some way that I could change him back to the dad I knew growing up I'd work hard at trying to fix things, but it ain't gonna happen. Horrible things have to happen before my dad will change. My father was a lousy husband to my mother. He didn't listen to her or appreciate her, he took her forgranted. When I heard the Mary Chapin Carpenter song "He thinks he'll keep her" I thought, yup, that's my mom with my dad. My mom left my dad and now he is remarried. He treats this one like a queen. He changed because something horrible happened. That's why I know the only way things will ever be good between us is by leaving and not looking back. He would have to work to win us back. If we go back on our own, it will be the same thing all over again.

Anyway, if I'm not around much it's because on top of my usual routine I'm trying to hold together one of my sisters who isn't taking this well. The other three of us have had a couple of months to accept it, but she just got disowned yesterday.

Mary Chapin Carpenter's He Thinks He'll Keep Her

Thursday, October 05, 2006

Yes it is always off limits

People of color (POC) have to remember that we internalize racism. It's one of the reasons why I didn't blog before. The blogs I regularly went to were the big democratic ones mostly inhabited by white bloggers and commenters. Many times when I did comment, which was rare anyway, it was because something didn't strike me as quite right. I didn't give much thought to the reason why it might have seemed that way, but it was because I was viewing it from my non-white perspective. Those comments tended to be ignored. I thought it was because I had nothing worthwhile to say, instead it's because I am saying things the majority white people do not want to hear. This is what I mean by internalizing racism, I thought since I was being ignored or condescended to, that I must be wrong.

I also have to remember that as an American I am privileged. In my last post I forgot that. I thought that maybe if the issue was made into one purely about sexism that we could get past the issues of colonialism. As long as there are no muslim voices in general, or Afghan voices specifically, there is no way that graphic can ignore the colonialism and arrogance of speaking for other people and what they feel about sexism in their culture.

I'm curious, is it always off-limits?

In the most recent firestorm, Amanda of Pandagon posted a picture of the Clinton blogger lunch where Jessica was covered in a burqa, many people of color (POC) protested the use of a muslim cultural symbol being used in a dust up between two white middle class women. Both Amanda and the image creater Auguste apologized and explained that Ann Althouse has condemned the use of the burqa for muslim women, while telling Jessica to stop bringing attention to her breasts, which considering Jessica is in a normal pose for a photograph one can assume Ann wants her to cover herself up.

My question is, what if Pandagon had posted contrasting pictures of both American sexism and Afghan sexism? What if instead of demonizing muslims for wanting women to be covered they also had a photo of the male American plasticized ideal, Pamela Anderson, wandering an Afghan market in a bikini or nude? And the caption reads: This is what Ann Althouse wants!

I think that by turning the spotlight on both types of sexism it would have mitigated the appearance of muslim bashing to some extent, and would have better drawn attention to the actual object of the joke, Ann Althouse and her hypocrisy.

I'll admit I haven't completely thought this through, so I would really like more input on what others think. Is using muslim cultural symbols completely off limits for Americans? It has been noted, Americans are involved in the colonial occupation of Afghanistan. Women's rights in Afghanistan has been used as an excuse for this occupation and therefore further devastation of women and their families there. So the argument could be made that we should stay away from it at all times. On the other hand, by contrasting it with sexism in the west, it wouldn't be pointing the finger at "the other" while ignoring ourselves, it would be pointing out that sexism is universal...while also having the added bonus of displaying Alhouse's confused thinking on the subject.

Wednesday, October 04, 2006


I was clicking my way through some of my links, just taking a look at what is going on in the blogosphere tonight, and came across a post about apologies on the Official Blog. There is a huge amount of food for thought if you click through all the links, and I discovered even more when I went to comment* and read the discussion rules. These should be the discussion rules for every blog in existence! It's like a continuation of my last post and well thought out rules for behavior for any person with privilege speaking to those without. I'm serious, it doesn't matter what blog you are on: if you are white go read those discussion rules before you engage in a discussion with or about people of color (POC); if you are a man, go read those discussion rules before you engage in a discussion about or with women; if you are American (or from any colonial/imperialist nation) go read those rules before you engage in a discussion about or with African/Asian/South American etc peoples. It's too bad these rules had to be posted and it isn't automatic behavior, but that is the problem with privilege, people do not even think before engaging in supremacist behavior. It's part of the society we live in, the assumption that whites are better than blacks, that Americans are better than all other nations in the world, the assumption that straights are better than gays.

See I told you I don't think or write in a linear fashion...

Back to apologies, read this for the deconstruction of the many non-apologies, my favorite is the Ellison non-apology. You will see many of the same tactics that have been used in recent days to dismiss POC. Including the dreadful commenters who ruined Amanda's sincere apology; yes, it appears to me that Amanda while sorry she had offended, wasn't quite sure why she offended. I still think she gets points for knowing she hurt others and not wanting to do that.

For a couple really good apologies, check out R. Mildred and Marc Faletti at PunkAssBlog. Explanation without excuses, no blame shifting, no changing the subject, just kickass punkass apologies!

Oh, and the latest addition to my links remains unapologetic.

*I couldn't post my comment there since there was a problem with the authentication image not showing up. That's why you won't see anything from me although I do intend to jump in when I can!

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

How to discuss race, my take on it

Recently at many blogs there have been a spate of threads concerning race in the blogosphere, for this I am grateful. The downward spiral of the discussions is disappointing but not entirely unexpected. As Pam noted:

What I have blogged about here many times before is that race is a third rail topic for white folks and POC, particularly in the progressive sphere. Whites are paranoid about discussing it for fear of getting their heads bitten off, POC are defensive because it can get tiring having to point out the obvious -- and then they shut down. The end result is the groups go into their corners and fail to communicate effectively.

I do agree that it is a third rail topic, but I think Pam is too generous in her characterization about what motivates each side. A substantial subset of the white liberal audience simply does not want to listen to or deal with POC. And most POC are fed up and exasperated with getting the same old run around every single time, and have come to expect it. What this means is that we (POC) may not be coming to the discussion with an open mind, which is inexcusable if you get caught in that cross-fire, but hopefully you will have a better understanding of where that anger is coming from. Understanding and context are important in discussions of racism, as well as many other discussions.

For example, you arrive at your friend's home and the first thing he does is bite your head off for no apparent reason. What's your response? What if your friend just got home from the hospital, is wearing a cast on his broken leg, and is medicated to the gills but still in alot of pain, do you have a different response? Your response is probably different even though in both cases you did nothing wrong and did not deserve his anger.

Let's see if we can find some understanding and context.

My advice for white people who wish to engage in conversations with POC is that you must understand that you absolutely do have white privilege, and probably express that in racist ways on occasion. You are blind to it because it is built in to American society, this is what we mean by institutional racism. When many white people are told this, their first and sometimes last reaction is to scream, "I AM NOT RACIST! I AM NOT RACIST! I AM NOT RACIST!" They assume we are speaking about individual acts based on hate, but what we really mean is that while they understand that POC are disadvantaged in our society; they do not acknowledge that they have advantages that they take forgranted. I believe that some are willfully blind to white privilege, because the way to fight institutional racism means that whites must give up some of their advantages, affirmative action is one of these, hiring more minorities means there are less openings for whites. They do not want to give up their advantage, and so they deny the problem or derail the conversation. It's not enough to sadly exclaim that racism is bad, you must be willing to take action, lip service doesn't cut it.

One example is when discussing racially divisive issues a white person will pipe up that we should leave behind identity politics and concentrate our efforts on the greater good. But the greater good generally means that white people determine what issues are important and in our collective best interests, and this may be of very little service to POC. We think that the collective good should be working towards ALL of our interests, not just yours. You can not find out what we believe is in our interest if you aren't even willing to listen to us, and instead dismiss us. This does not mean that we expect to only work on our issues, we expect to discuss and compromise; it is the white person who expects to only work on what they choose as important while we are expected to be quiet and go along to get along.

One other thing, when white people do recognize institutional racism many times they do not speak out. They think it's not their problem and look the other way. This is why there was so much anger expressed over the Clinton blogger lunch by POC. Our allies abandon us when we need them. The bloggers there did not make it a priority to find out why diverse voices weren't included and explain to their readers. And the blogosphere in general either did not see a problem, or were afraid of the reaction of their peers if they sided with POC, for instance by delinking or banning them.

The one thing I have to say to POC is to beware of assuming that a white person who questions you isn't serious about understanding your stance. Because we are dismissed, demeaned, ignored, maligned, lied to, and lied about on a fairly regular basis it is easy to jump to that conclusion; but so much better to give clear and honest answers with as little sarcasm and animosity until you are certain what the other person's motives are. First because we need as many allies as we can find, if someone has an open mind give him/her a chance. Second because it will appear to be like the person in my example who snarls at his friend for no apparent reason, without people knowing about the broken leg. In other words, if you are dealing with a racist idiot, lead him into the discussion to reveal that before you kick his ass; or you will look like you are unreasonable, hysterical, and lashing out unprovoked to others who were willing to listen and learn...we need as many allies as we can find.

Monday, October 02, 2006

Who are our enemies? Who are our friends?

I guess life is just more complicated than this simple Maliseet woman ever thought...

We are told that Chavez and Venezuela are eeeevvvviiiillll! And yet they go and do something like this, something our own government will not do for us.

From Indian Country Today, Venezuela offers cheap heating oil
NEW YORK - An unprecedented gift of warmth is destined for North American reservations this winter, where tribal governments have been offered drastically discounted heating oil by Venezuela's nationally owned petroleum company.

The offer comes through Houston-based CITGO Petroleum Corp., which has committed to 10 million gallons of fuel for tribes at a 40 percent discount, with the discounted portion treated as a charitable donation to American Indians and Alaska Native governments.

CITGO is a subsidiary of Venezuela's Petroleos de Venezuela S.A., which distributed 40 million gallons of discounted fuel through nonprofit organizations last winter in the aftermath of hurricanes Katrina and Rita. The program has been expanded to a total of 100 million gallons this year.

Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez inaugurated the program before an enthusiastic audience in New York on Sept. 21, where blacks, Latinos and more than 300 American Indians packed Harlem's Mount Olive Baptist Church.

Wow, now that is a multi-ethnic group in Harlem. How unexpected. It's almost as unexpected as getting discounted heating oil from our enemy. Read the whole story, this will be the second year the Wabanaki tribes are benefiting from this program.

Meanwhile what have our friends been up to? It appears they have been to Harlem too, the Official Blog has the info.

...Well, what some of you may not know is that the lack of people of colour (POC) in the lineup also brought some criticism. How, pray tell, does the liberal blogsphere respond? By supporting the POC who, having seen this kind of thing countless times, have raised this issue? Of course not...

...The point, of course, being that there weren’t any POC on the panel because the effort to reach out to them was non-existent (and, no, sorry, but no cookie is given for “effort” because the person set up to be the “token minority” declined the invite). And, no, it’s not because there aren’t excellent political bloggers who aren’t white, either. Yet again, the privileged section of the blogsphere was given a chance to examine their privilege and go, “Huh. That is unfortunate. Next time we gotta do better,” and, yet again, they passed it up and instead went with the familiar comfort of racism.

According to Kai at Zuky the “good intentions” monster reared its ugly head (reminding me that I need to add that to the list of things I need to post about). I’ve gotten to the point where I just don’t buy the “good intentions” line anymore because it’s so often used to silence dissent from the minority group or person in question. Hey, dissenters, if your intentions are so good, put your money where your mouth is and actually listen to what the POC bloggers are saying! Seriously, how hard it is it to translate good intentions into good actions? And I’ll give you a tip: personally attacking a POC blogger for speaking out isn’t the way to prove to the world the purity of your intentions. Neither is de-linking them, as seems to have happened over at Kos’ blog.

How does the saying go? "With friends like these..."

Sunday, October 01, 2006

We need to talk

"We need to talk." The one sentence that can make most of us cringe. It means a difficult subject has come up; one which we would like to avoid; one which might mean an argument. But whether we are talking about a wife telling her husband, or a father telling his son, or a coworker telling coworker; does it help to let things slide, let it keep simmering? Not usually, letting it simmer means that it will eventually explode. So it's better to have that talk and depressurize the situation.

Now is the time for people of color to have that talk with the liberal white people who say they are our allies. During the recent fracas over the Clinton blogger lunch, several things came to light, many disturbing. The first is that Peter Daou did invite one black blogger, Oliver Willis. He also invited two latino bloggers, Kos and Pachacutec. For many people of color, this extent of outreach is weak to say the least. To many white bloggers it's good enough. But...I think if Daou or any of the other bloggers at that lunch had explained the situation, that it was the first of many meetings planned, that it was thrown together quickly, and that some POC bloggers had been invited but couldn't attend on such short notice; there may have been some grumbles but it would have quickly died down. That isn't what happened.

Instead many of the bloggers didn't even observe the lack of color. No black bloggers in Harlem of all places, and while eating soul food, and while discussing racial justice during part of the conversation, is somewhat troubling if you ask me. Oh, I am sure that no one there wanted to deliberately keep POC out, but I am also very discouraged that we are an afterthought and that not one of these people thought it was worthy of mention, discussion, or explanation. Until...

People of color noticed. And then what happened? These bloggers screeched that it was up to us to investigate before we hurl accusations. Are you kidding me? Why should we? We're not the ones in Daou's rolodex. We're not the one in the same room with both him and Clinton. You were there! You should have been shocked by the lack of diversity and asked for yourself and your readers! BUT YOU DIDN'T CARE ENOUGH TO EVEN NOTICE WE WERE MISSING! Or more charitably, you were too much of a coward to ask, or to bring it up on your blog, and hoped and prayed that no POC would notice.

Many of these bloggers and several commenters asked the question, "What did you want me (them) to do? Walk out?" No, we wanted these bloggers to acknowledge that there is a problem, to ask why, and to explain to the readers what happened. Is that really too much to ask?

Then they, and some commenters, went on to explain that they are the "leaders" of the blogosphere. And one in particular thought that we are too illiterate to deserve an invite and that we should mind our "betters". This is a little hard to reconcile with the reason we are given for the meeting. It is supposed to be a way to coordinate the Democratic strategy and progressive bloggers messaging where their interest intersect. Since all these "leaders" are basically an upper middle class echo chamber with most of the same readership, they could have invited one or two of them, and then invited several who have different readerships to increase their effectiveness. After all lawyers aren't the only ones who vote; Susan at Suburban Guerilla covers class issues, Confined Space is one of the best blogs covering labor issues, Michael Berube covers both education and disability issues...what about healthcare, what about environmentalists, what about veterans? There were many left out at that table.

The last thing I will say is that perhaps it wasn't about coordinating messaging. Peter Daou does not work for Bill Clinton. He works for Hillary Clinton. It appears the purpose of this meeting was to mute the largest blogs' Hillary criticism. These bloggers will not want their access cut off, they got a Bill Clinton meet and greet, and many got a press pass to Clinton's Global far. Do they think they will get more of that if they criticize Hillary? So yes, my dear, you sold out for fried chicken.